Apr. 6, 2021
2021 Masters Prop Bets
Sunday night brought a nice serving of crow to my dinner plate, as 24 hours after my Masters Preview was up and I noted how many wins other golfers priced around Jordan Spieth had had since Spieth's last professional win, he turned around on Sunday and made sure that nobody in the world had a more recent golf win than him coming into the Masters.
It was an impressive performance to say the least!
Most Popular Masters Betting Resources
Still don't believe in his price being where it's at, and coming off a win may even see it become shorter in the market. I never have a problem fading guys off a win to begin with, so it's still a pass on Spieth all the way around this week. But it's a pass and not a fade in some form because that helping of crow didn't exactly go down the smoothest. So for those of you that want to ride the hot hand with Spieth, I wish you (and Spieth) all the best this week.
There are a few players I am looking to fade for the 2021 Masters in some form though, and with the prop betting derivative market being extra large for the Majors, we spread the preview out to two pieces this week. And before I get too negative on some guys, including this one specifically, I would like to congratulate Jon Rahm on becoming a father for the first time.
No better thing in the world.
72 Hole Matchups
Rory McIlroy +120 over Jon Rahm -152
Odds per FanDuel - Subject to Change
There are multiple situations backing McIlroy in some form this week that in one way or another seem to all side with the Irishman.
To start, there is no sugarcoating McIlroy's recent struggles which is always going to be a concern, but they've also created a scenario where so little pressure is on him this week (relative to past years) regarding his pursuit of his first green jacket to win the career Grand Slam in the process that I side with the idea that's a good thing for someone as competitive as Rory. Having everyone doubt you is far more motivating and less stressful than when everyone touts you to be a legitimate contender, and if McIlroy's swing issues have ironed themselves out enough this week, the shadow of doubt that the majority cast over him this week should be a plus.
At the same time, Rahm just became a father for the first time over the weekend and once the adrenaline dump hits him from the ultimate high that that experience is in one's life, I'm not sure how we get anywhere near the best version of Rahm this week. Sure, there could be a 1st round lead for Rahm as he continues to play off the biggest high in life, but I have a hard time it will last for the gruelling mental and physical grind that is the Masters.
Even in the case where Rory is still struggling with his swing, I still don't believe it will take McIlroy out of this matchup prop because once Rahm's body realizes how tired it is from the past week's events, this week might turn into a write off for him too.
Put it all together with Rory's recent play putting him in a market category where the majority won't want to touch him this week, I'll take the plus money here and give him one more shot.
Group Betting Winner
Bubba Watson +250
Odds per FanDuel - Subject to Change
Not sure how the 24-year old debutant Will Zalatoris got matched up with this over 40 group featuring two former winners (Scott, Watson), and another guy in Rose who's got a pair of runner-up finishes here since 2015.
There is an argument to be made that the youthfulness of Zalatoris could give him a decided edge in this prop, but I'd be more willing to buy it had he not been a debutant going up against this group of established Masters vets.
This is always going to be a tournament where you don't need to twist my arm to go against debutants in some form because I do believe personal course knowledge of Augusta is vital to one's success here, and if I get beat, I get beat, it happens.
Now the easy argument between the other three is that Bubba's got the most green jackets of the bunch, but that's also only part of it. I think he's been playing better golf fundamentally than Rose for quite some time, and Scott's best finishes of late seem to top out around the Top 10 or 15 range.
Watson's been far more inconsistent with more missed cuts of late, but for how well Augusta National suits his eye, his imagination, and his ability to execute those shots he sees, that's variance I'll gladly live with this week.
Nationality - Top Canadian
Mackenzie Hughes +180
Odds per BetMGM - Subject to Change
In a prop that I believe it's hard not to view as a two-horse race between Hughes and Conners and their world rankings being quite similar entering this event – Hughes is 51st and Conners is 43rd – I've got to take the +200 price on Hughes almost on principle.
The big disparity in the outright markets for these two guys does contribute to this price, as does Conners having the far better course history with a 10th last year, a 46th in 2019 and a MC earlier in his career. Hughes only has a MC from the 2017 Masters on his career resume to date.
Conners recent form of generally being in the mix on the weekends – his last four starts have been 14th, 61st, 7th, and 3rd – has probably inflated his perception in the market enough to where this price does look like one that's an easy fade. It's not like Hughes hasn't been playing decent golf on his end either, as his last start saw him finish 9th.
The course knowledge/history edge does favor Conners enough that he deserves to be chalk in this prop, but give me +200 on something that is easily viewed as a heads up matchup between two guys that are relatively similar in talent and I'll take the odds nearly every time.
Top 20 After Round 1
Jon Rahm +100 | Victor Hovland +170
Odds per FanDuel - Subject to Change
Backing Rahm to have a strong first round does seem a little counter-intuitive to the 72-hole matchup play mentioned earlier, and it does have some hedgeness to it.
For one, I'm well aware I could be dead wrong on Rahm's chances this week, and if that ends up being the case, chances are he's had a strong opening round to build upon and keep him mentally alert to the golf task at hand. Hard to imagine a guy coming off the week Rahm's had to lurk in the weeds early on and have enough energy to make a Saturday/Sunday late charge to compete for this title.
Secondly, if the adrenaline high is still there for him this week, it's going to show up earlier rather than later. He's finished in the Top 10 at the Masters the past three years and has done so the past two years by shooting a 69 in Round 1. With how much faster I expect this course to play compared to what we saw in November, a 69 on Thursday should be plenty good enough for a Top 20 finish for Rahm. And if this is wrong, I'll take my chances that the McIlroy vs Rahm 72-hole matchup is in decent shape after 18 holes.
In Hovland's case, the fact that this is his second career start at the Masters isn't ideal, but he played here in 2019, not in the fall of 2020, so any muscle (and normal) memories he has from this event are going to be relevant to how Augusta National should play this week.
Hovland's ball striking is already impeccable at such a young age, and while his issues on and around the green make it tough to trust this young star for four rounds at Augusta at this stage of his career, asking him to catch enough of a heater on Thursday to be in the Top 20 is a much more realistic expectation in my view.
Hovland's 5th in SG: Off-the-tee this year and 11th in SG: Tee-to-green, so when you can confidently trust you'll be playing fairway-to-green golf at Augusta, you're going to have a shot at some really low rounds. I'll happily hope that it comes on Thursday for Hovland.
To Miss Cut
Abraham Ancer +220 | CT Pan -105
Odds per BetMGM - Subject to Change
If the thought process of this course being extremely different than what guys saw in the fall last year does end up being a factor, I believe there is an argument to be made that fading those guys who made their Masters debut in that fall tournament. Abraham Ancer and CT Pan are two names that fit that bill, and both actually found quite a bit of success back in November, finishing 13th and 7th respectively.
There is no way that Augusta National plays as soft as it did that week though, and to only have the memories from November to lean on here will take some adjustment. It's almost as if it's as easy as to say “the better debutants from November did, the worse they may do here in April.” Nothing is ever that easy, but it is the gist of the approach.
Recent form from Ancer will bring some disputes as he's got four Top 25's in his last four starts, but there were also two missed cuts sprinkled into Ancer's four starts prior to those as well. His biggest weaknesses in the Strokes Gained categories come Around-the-green and with the putter (like Hovland), but he's not got anywhere near the long game that Hovland does, and it won't be the soft target-golf approach this week either. The more times Ancer has to be scrambling for pars out there, the more likely his score won't be one good enough to play on the weekend.
Pan's last start finished with a 3rd place finish, so a recent form argument can be made against this play as well, but with five missed cuts in his previous seven starts before that, it's important to always zoom out enough on the bigger picture to get a better scope of the image.
Playing erratic golf is not the best path to success at Augusta National, and while he did end up gaining +2.78 strokes total on the Masters field in November, that's probably about as good as it gets for him. He's coming off a +2.42 SG: Total effort at the Honda Classic in his last outing, but this entire year he's had three other events where he finished with a SG: Total number of +1.57 or better, and after the previous three, his next start only resulted in a positive SG: Total number once, and it was lucky to even be that (+0.08).
Pan's Strokes Gained numbers in all categories this year are all over the map for the most part, and unless he bucks most of those and catches fire out of the gate, I'm not sure we see him on the weekend this time.
How to Bet on Golf
Golf betting has gained much more exposure and interest in the past few years, and with plenty of plus-money prices littered throughout the various forms of golf wagers, the chance for bigger scores is part of the reason behind that increased popularity.
Sportsbooks ensure that there are no shortage of wagering options on golf tournaments every week, and it isn't all about picking the winner. Grabbing the outright winner of a golf tournament is the best way to get that 'big score' but it's also the hardest wager to cash. After all, a typical professional golf tournament has a field of 140+ different players to consider.
Understanding Golf Odds and Bets
Most golf odds are listed in the fractional format – 10/1 on Dustin Johnson for example – and in that particular case you would multiply the amount bet by that first number to project your winnings. So a $100 bet on DJ to win that particular event would win you $1000.
If you are more comfortable with the American version of odds listings that you typically see across the other major North American sports – ie +1000 – these numbers are easily convertible. Online and app based books may already have that option built in, but the easiest way to do it yourself is to add two zeros to the first number in the fraction. So a 10/1 price on DJ converts to +1000 in that format.
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